How to prepare this versatile vegetable, plus 8 delicious dishes.

By Real Simple
Updated May 05, 2009
Hector M. Sanchez


How to Blanch Green Beans

Fill a mixing bowl halfway with ice and enough water to cover it. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the green beans until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the green beans from the pot to the ice bath. Drain when cool, about 1 minute.

How to Steam Green Beans

Fill a large saucepan with 1 inch of water and fit with a steamer basket. Bring the water to a boil. Place the green beans in the basket, cover, and steam until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes.

How to Choose Green Beans

Look for green beans that are slender and bright in color. They should make a sharp “snap” when broken. Steer clear of those in which the individual beans can be seen clearly through the pod. This means they are overly mature and tough.

How to Store Green Beans

Refrigerate unwashed green beans in a plastic bag or container in the vegetable drawer for up to 5 days.

How to Use Them

  • Roasted Green Beans and Pecans: Toss green beans and pecans with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast at 400° F, tossing once, until the green beans are tender, 12 minutes.
  • Green Beans With Creamy Basil Dip: Blanch green beans and serve with a mixture of pesto and mayonnaise.
  • Lemony Tuna and Green Bean Salad: Chop blanched green beans and olives. Combine with canned tuna, olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  • Green Bean, Tomato, and Bacon Salad: Cook sliced garlic in olive oil until golden. Toss with steamed green beans, halved cherry tomatoes, and cooked bacon.
  • Grilled Cajun Green Beans: Toss green beans with Cajun seasoning and a touch of olive oil. Grill over medium-high heat until tender, 4 minutes.
  • Green Bean and Feta Relish: Chop raw green beans and red onion. Mix with crumbled Feta and red wine vinaigrette. Serve over grilled meat or seafood.
  • Easy Pickled Green Beans: Save a pickle jar and the brine and fill with green beans. Let marinate at least 1 day and up to a week before serving.
  • Spicy Asian Green Beans: Toss steamed green beans with soy sauce and chili-garlic sauce (found in the international aisle of most supermarkets).